EU Competition Chief: Screw Around With Standards Essential Patents and You’ll Be Sorry
Tech companies plotting to use standards essential patents to bolster their market power best think twice before doing so. Because European Union competition chief Joaquin Almunia isn’t going to tolerate such behavior.
In a speech given at the Concurrences conference in Paris today, Almunia promised to take a hard line with the abuse of technology standards-related patents.
“When monopolies and tight oligopolies are allowed to occupy a market, they tend to resist change and often end up caring only about the preservation of their business models,” Almunia said. “Owners of such standards essential patents are conferred a power on the market that they cannot be allowed to misuse.”
And should they try, there will be hell to pay, because Almunia is fully prepared to use the EU’s antitrust powers to thwart them.
“I am determined to use antitrust enforcement to prevent the misuse of patent rights to the detriment of a vigorous and accessible market,” he said. “I have initiated investigations on this issue in several sectors and we will see the results in due time.”
Among those inquiries? A formal investigation into Samsung to determine whether it’s using standards-essential patents to manipulate the mobile market in Europe.